We have suggested that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the hypothalamus plays a tonic inhibitory role in the control of the luteinizing hormone (LH) release in intact male rats. To assess whether feedback from the testis alters the inhibitory GABAergic tone in the medial preoptic area (MPO) of male rats, an in vivo microdialysis study was performed in gonadally intact (n = 10), castrated (n = 12) and castrated testosterone-primed (n = 10) male rats. The microdialysis samples were collected and sequential blood samples were also obtained at 1-hour intervals. GABA in the dialysate was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography system and serum LH concentration was determined by radioimmunoassay. Episodic GABA release in the MPO was observed in all three groups of male rats, although castrated male rats showed lower GABA release (2.3 ± 0.3 ng/h) than intact and castrated testosterone-primed male rats (4.0 ± 0.5 and 4.6 ± 1.0 ng/h, respectively). Conversely, castrated male rats showed higher serum LH concentration (7.31 ± 0.46 ng/ml) than intact and castrated testosterone-primed male rats (0.71 ± 0.04 and 0.53 ± 0.07 ng/ml, respectively). In addition, intravenous infusion of bicuculline significantly increased serum LH in intact male rats, whereas bicuculline did not alter serum LH concentrations in castrated male rats. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the feedback of testosterone stimulates GABA release in the region of the GnRH cell bodies and dendrites in male rats.

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